How will the CW's The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to a series based almost entirely on having and talking about sex, handle the topic in a way that both honors Sex and the City and follows the rules of network television?
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On the series premiere, a young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) returned to high school after a summer of grieving the death of her mother. On the first day, she "meets" the new guy in school, Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler), who was actually Carrie's first kiss the summer before. But now that the pair is together, how long will it be before the 16-year-old virgin starts down the path to becoming the Carrie viewers fell in love with on the HBO series? Executive producer Amy B. Harris is OK taking her time.
"We're not yet to a place where they're 'doing it' yet," Harris tells TVGuide.com. "We're taking it very slowly and then sometimes speeding it up the way your first relationships often are. What I love about Carrie and Sebastian is that we are really delving into that first relationship that inspires the potential to say, 'I love you' for the first time."
But that doesn't mean the new show will be completely sex-less. "We've been fighting the good fight with the network," Harris says. "We have Standards and Practices, so there are certain things we can't show. But you saw [on the premiere] that [Carrie's best friend] Maggie was trying to give Walt a bl-- j--. [The network] fought for that to be in the show."
So what can and can't be shown? "Apparently you're not allowed to thrust, so you're basically lying on top of each other," Butler says, before hinting that a Carrie-Sebastian romp is still a ways off. "But I haven't filmed a sex scene yet, and we're going into Episode 9."
Just as the older Carrie's relationships were complex and complicated, younger Carrie's relationship with Sebastian won't be all high school dances, flowers and rainbows. On the third episode, Carrie discovers something alarming about Sebastian's past that leads Carrie's dad (Matt Letscher) to forbid her to see him.
"Through her own curiosity, she makes a lot of mistakes with how she approaches the subject [with Sebastian], which is very Carrie Bradshaw," Harris says. "A lot of people would've kept that information to themselves, but she could not. In a strange way, the father also becomes a part of the triangle. These two men are the most important to her, and one of them doesn't want the other around. So that'll play a big part of this season."
With bumps ahead for Carrie and Sebastian, and the fact that it's unlikely a high school relationship could last the length of the series, how will the show keep Sebastian at the forefront of the series? For Harris, it's about making him the "Mr. Big" of the show. "Similar to Big [Chris Noth], he will be around even when he's not a part of her life in a couple kind of way," she says. "But they're drawn to each other. For me, the way we told stories on Sex and the City about those smaller, but very relatable aspects of relationships is a lot of what we'll be chasing in this one."
The Carrie Diaries airs on Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.